WASHINGTON ― Andrew McCabe, who took over as acting head of the FBI after President Donald Trump fired former Director James Comey a year ago, may soon be fired by the Trump administration just ahead of his formal retirement date on Sunday, putting his pension in peril after more than two decades at the bureau.
If Mr. Sessions does fire Mr. McCabe, it would place his pension as a 21-year government employee in jeopardy, The Times said.
"The department follows a prescribed process by which an employee may be terminated", said the spokeswoman, Sarah Isgur Flores. "We have no personnel announcements at this time".
In 2016, McCabe evidently authorized a top aide and the FBI's chief spokesman to speak with a Wall Street Journal reporter for a story indicating that McCabe battled with Obama appointees within the Justice Department to allow an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation to continue.
The inspector general's finding sparked an Federal Bureau of Investigation disciplinary process that recommended his firing, something Sessions can accept or reverse, the paper said.
The Justice Department declined to comment on the specific recommendation from the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility, which is responsible for employee disciplinary matters and is made up of career employees.
Trump's statements about McCabe put pressure on Sessions to fire him, and would create an appearance of impropriety even if Sessions' decision to fire McCabe were backed by a formal recommendation.More news: US Appeals Court Upholds Texas' Crackdown on 'Sanctuary Cities'
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McCabe's pension kicks in on Sunday, so the termination would have to be done by close of business on Friday to stop it.
McCabe has been on leave since stepping down in January. A government official at the time said Mr. McCabe was merely using his retirement eligibility a few weeks early.
Fox News reported Republicans have questioned his connection with the Democrat Party.
Trump himself has taken at McCabe, drawing attention to the FBI official's desire to serve at the bureau long enough to receive retirement benefits.
Trump has taunted McCabe, tweeting in late December, "FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!"
In the past, the president has tried to connect the dots between McCabe and Clinton over a campaign donation his wife received from Clinton ally, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Trump asked past year. The details of why the inspector general viewed Mr. McCabe as not forthcoming are not clear.
"Why didn't A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation", the president demanded to know last June. The inspector general's report has not been released but is expected out soon.